COVID-19: Inter-agency taskforce set up to support dorms during circuit breaker period

Foreign workers stand along the corridor of their rooms at the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — An inter-agency taskforce has been set up to give support to foreign workers and dormitory operators during the circuit breaker period from 7 April to 4 May, the Ministry of Manpower said on Tuesday (7 April).

MOM will assist the operators of S11 Dormitory @Punggol as well as Westlite Toh Guan Dormitory, to ensure that their residents get timely supply of catered meals, and the premises are kept clean during the period. The two dormitories were gazetted as isolation areas last Sunday after they were linked to a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

A similar team has been deployed to Toh Guan Dormitory, which has also been gazetted as an isolation area. 

These teams are supported by the Ministry of Health, National Environment Agency, the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, Migrant Workers’ Centre and other agencies.

The taskforce will progressively deploy inter-agency teams to the rest of the dormitories to support their operators as they implement the circuit breaker measures.

Meals and snacks

Multiple caterers have been engaged to provide meals to foreign workers. To date, the caterers have delivered close to 160,000 portions of meals and snacks. 

After some initial hitches, dormitory residents are now able to receive their meals in a timely and orderly fashion. Meals are delivered by the caterers and distributed to resident workers in batches to ensure freshness, and to stagger meal times. 

Cleanliness in the dormitories

Both dormitory operators continued to ramp up cleaning routines, and cope with the increased usage of washroom facilities and the higher volumes of trash generated, as workers now spend the entire day in the premises. 

The hygiene conditions at the two dormitories have improved from the previous days.

For example, the dormitories have increased the frequency of refuse collection and removal from the premises for disposal from once daily, to three times per day. The disinfection and cleaning of the common areas and washroom facilities are being carried out three times per day.

Care packs and on-site medical facilities

All 20,000 resident workers in S11 and Westlite have received care packs consisting of masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers. A similar care pack will be distributed to resident workers at Toh Guan Dormitory. 

From Tuesday, the teams at the dormitories will work with operators to ensure that resident workers monitor their temperature twice daily, and also don masks when they step out of their rooms to collect their meals or use washroom facilities.

Basic medical facilities have been set up at S11 and Westlite. Workers who become unwell will be relocated and housed separately to prevent them from infecting their room-mates.

MOM said it will continue to keep a close eye on the dormitory conditions and will intervene to ensure standards. 

Dorm residents are also urged to help maintain cleanliness and hygiene within the dormitory premises, and cooperate with temperature taking and other instructions.

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